America's fentanyl crisis: 'It's an invasion,' says William Bennett, former drug czar – Fox News

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Former U.S. drug czar William Bennett on the threat of rainbow fentanyl to children and President Biden issuing pardons to low-level marijuana offenders.
Former U.S. drug czar William Bennett said the United States is right now “soft on too many things” — including the criminals who are smuggling deadly fentanyl into the country and contributing to the death of numerous Americans.
Bennett on Monday followed up a “Fox & Friends” television appearance with an original interview by phone with Fox News Digital in which he shared his strong concerns about the fentanyl pouring into the United States via the southern border.
On this topic, Bennett took Rolling Stone magazine to task for its recent article that criticized warnings from the GOP about fentanyl hidden in candy this fall as millions of America’s kids get ready to go trick-or-treating for Halloween.
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“This crazy business of Rolling Stone — let’s resolve it,” he said. “Let’s have the writers [of that article] have a couple,” said Bennett.
The Rolling Stone article was titled, “No Treats, Only Tricks: Republicans Try to Ruin Halloween by Using a Fake Fentanyl Threat.”
William Bennett said of the dangers posed by fentanyl today for America’s children: "Do you want your kids to be part of that experiment?" (Fox News/Getty Images)
The article went after those who have raised alarms about the prevalence of deadly fentanyl in the country — and the way it’s being snuck into a variety of other products.
As for the Rolling Stone article’s authors who maintain that there’s no real issue with fentanyl in the U.S.: “If they’re right, there’s no problem. If they’re wrong — they’re dead,” Bennett said.
He went on, “Do you want your kids to be part of that experiment? That’s just crazy.”
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“Who do you believe?” Bennett also said of the threat posed to Americans by fentanyl all across this country. “Rolling Stone or the DEA and the Border Patrol? I’ll take the DEA and the Border Patrol, thank you.”
“Who do you believe? Rolling Stone or the DEA and the Border Patrol?”
He added of drugs intercepted at the border, “They’ve tested it — they’ve tested it.”
Bennett said that America, in a very short time, has lost to fentanyl far more people than were killed during the entire Vietnam War over a multiyear period.
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“We lost nearly 108,000 people” just last year to opioid poisoning, he said — with two-thirds of those deaths attributed to fentanyl-like substances.
During the entirety of the Vietnam War, more than 58,000 Americans died, he said.
Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers seized more than 26 pounds of fentanyl pills at a Border Patrol checkpoint near Gila Bend on Sept. 23, 2022. (Arizona Department of Public Safety)
“This is an invasion,” said Bennett of the fentanyl crisis.
And now, he added, the cartels are basically saying, “‘Screw you, America. Now, we’re going to take it to your kids.’ At what point does a country show its backbone?” he said.
“There’s a very clear policy” that the U.S. has at its disposal, he said. 
“You can declare these cartels to be Foreign Terrorist Organizations. As we did in the Middle East or Syria, we could then go after them. And you take them out because they are Foreign Terrorist Organizations.”
“At what point does a country show its backbone?”
In terms of why he thinks the administration isn’t being tougher on this issue, he said, “That’s a question for a psychiatrist. I don’t know. I keep thinking about this line from Flannery O’Connor, the great writer, who said, ‘You have to push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you.’ And this age is pushing very, very hard,” he said.
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He said it’s possible the current U.S. administration does not want to anger Mexico and that they’re generally sympathetic to open borders.
“But we’ve done … the experiments already” on this issue, he said. “Look at Oregon. They legalized everything. It’s madness out there.”
Importantly, Bennett also said, “The journeys that end in fentanyl always start with marijuana. Always, always.”
An assortment of rainbow fentanyl pills are shown here. "This is an invasion," said William Bennett of the illegal drugs that are pouring into our country.  (DEA)
“It is a gateway. And while not everyone who uses marijuana goes on to more dangerous drugs, anybody who does go on to getting fentanyl on the street started off with marijuana,” he said.
Bennett said his jaw dropped recently when he saw two mothers on television discussing the issue of drug overdoses.
“What in the world were they doing ordering Percocet and Vicodin?”
One mother said of her son, as Bennett recounted, “Well, he was at a party, and they all ordered Percocet and Vicodin — and they got fentanyl instead. And they were killed.”
“What in the world were they doing ordering Percocet and Vicodin?” he added.
"The guy on the street who’s selling this — he doesn’t give a damn about your pain. He doesn’t care about the amount [of fentanyl] … He’s just trying to make a profit," William Bennett said to Fox News Digital. (Fox News)
Prescription medication should only come from a doctor or medical professional and only for a very specific health reason, Bennett said.
“The guy on the street who’s selling this — he doesn’t give a damn about your pain,” said Bennett. “He doesn’t care about the amount [of fentanyl present in any of the drugs he’s selling], either. He’s just trying to make it profit.”
Bennett noted that addressing pain is an important issue: “Many people suffer from serious pain. But do it the right way,” he said. 
Bennett’s comments come on the heels of a Wall Street Journal op-ed that he wrote, published Monday, which took the Biden administration to task for its soft-on-crime and soft-on-drug policies.
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He wrote, “If President Biden had really wanted to do something about the problems facing our cities and states — rising crime, addiction and overdose deaths — he might have done something to prevent illegal drug use.”
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Added Bennett in his op-ed, “Instead, he chose to minimize the dangers of drug use by granting pardons for criminals convicted of marijuana possession under federal law. In so doing, Mr. Biden has sent the country the wrong signal at the wrong time.”
Maureen Mackey is managing editor of lifestyle for Fox News Digital.
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